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Production

mocha AE to CC Power Pin

Using Animation Presets and Expressions to simplify using CC Power Pin instead of Corner Pin with mocha AE.

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Imagineer Systems’ mocha AE is a stand-alone planer motion tracking application that creates keyframe date which you can in turn use in After Effects. If you are performing a perspective-style track, you will paste the resulting data into a Corner Pin effect already applied to the to-be-pinned layer in After Effects.

However, some prefer using the CC Power Pin effect that comes with Cycore Effects (bundled free with After Effects) over the stock Adobe Corner Pin effect: It is more flexible, and some feel it resamples the layer with higher quality. As a result, a number of workarounds have appeared to apply mocha’s Corner Pin data to CC Power Pin. I’d like to share a couple, and add my own.

The simplest is to go down your normal work path of applying Corner Pin to the layer, pasting the data from mocha into the Corner Pin effect, apply CC Power Pin to the same layer, and then manually copy and paste the data from each corner of Corner Pin to the corresponding corner of CC Power Pin. Delete the original Corner Pin effect when you’re done.

Another approach is to manually edit the keyframe data before pasting, and then paste it into CC Power Pin instead of Corner Pin. This idea came from Forrest Maready; Ross Shain of Imagineer passed it along recently to the Media Motion After Effects list. After opening the keyframe data in a text editor, you need to change the header for each corner’s keyframes like so:

BEFORE:
Effects Corner Pin #1 Upper Left #2

AFTER:
Effects CC Power Pin #1 Top Left #3

The resulting text file should resemble this (with the edited bits in blue):

Although useful, both of these strike me as requiring a lot manual labor when in the heat of a project.

As an alternative, I’ve come up with a simple Animation Preset that you can apply to the layer to be pinned. This preset contains both the Corner Pin and CC Power Pin effects, with Power Pin’s corners already expressed to take the data from Corner Pin. The Corner Pin effect is turned off, and should remain off (you don’t want two distortions taking place!).

Click here to download the Animation Preset (un-Zip it before trying to use it!). To apply it, select the target layer and use Animation > Apply Animation Preset. Apply the mocha keyframe data to Corner Pin as you would normally, and CC Power Pin will use the data automatically without requiring additional work on your part.

(Click here to view a nice tutorial by Aharon Rabinowitz over on Creative Cow that walks through the perspective track workflow using After Effects and mocha AE.)

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Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS,…
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